Although the story was not as suspenseful as the overwrought blurbs lead me to believe, I still enjoyed this book. It was in fact more character study than thriller, a book in which the understated (and yes, sometimes flat) narration lends an even more disturbing quality to events. Jean, the widow of the title, comes under the closest scrutiny, as the reader follows her spiral from naive 17 year old to a widow who knows more, perhaps, than she's telling. Supporting characters--journalist Kate, distraught mother Dawn, and especially DI Sparkes--are all nicely done.
A problem for me here, and in many books of this type that I've read lately, was the confusing and ever-shifting timeline. Back and forth, here and there--what's wrong with just telling a straightforward linear story for once?
But as a whole, I liked this novel's deceptive simplicity, and would read more from Barton